Medium Size German Trowel Cleanup

Tool Cleanup

Sometimes a minor project comes up out of nowhere. This little project came about because I was cleaning the tools out of my tool bucket before putting them away after a recent project that we'll talk about in just a minute. In this case, it's just this medium size, relatively small trowel. Let's get into it.

This trowel's moment on the bench was nearly incidental. I was pulling tools out of my tool bucket and cleaning them up - getting the mud off them, oiling up any metal parts and putting them away. You might ask... why was the trowel in your tool bucket in need of cleaning?

That's a simple one - aw week or two ago we put some pavers under the rain barrel, and this trowel was particularly useful in adding more sand under the pavers to level them up after getting them in place.

As I was cleaning the mud off the trowel I took a moment to remember that it was given to me way back in 1999 or 2000 from a German relative - and that it was probably from the 1950s or '60's.  It was then that I decided this little square plaster trowel needed a little bit more than a clean up.  You can see the handle showed evidence of years of use!

The blade itself had some surface rust and dried old plaster up near the frog.  It wouldn't take much so I figured - why not!  So I took a razor blade to remove the old paint from the handle.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. - Henry David Thoreau

The first step to giving this ol' trowel a new life was to clean up the blade. A little elbow grease with the sanding block, scouring pad and some steel wool, cleaned it up nicely.

I gave some thought to painting the handle red again, bringing it to what it probably looked like back in the day.  But, I wanted to try something diferent this time, so instead of paint or stain, I just put a few coats of Howard's Beeswax and Orange Oil Feed-N-Wax.  This was the second time I've used it, although I don't recall what I used it on.  It left a nice warm color on the handle of this trowel which is what I was going for.

Have used this product for several years. Most excellent. One tip: if cool then rather thick as bees wax hardens. Leave in sun about 30 min, softens wax , shake to mix oils with wax & good to go. Applied to cabinets built in 1977 and seriously: they look new. Since these are dark oak, 1st touched up a few areas where white wood showing thru dark stain. Best product is color match: Howard Restore-A-Finish, let dry over night; then follow thru with this Howard Feed-N-Wax. Even touched up wood on antique lamp base and butcher block knife holder. All came out fantastic as the oils absorb & conditions the wood from totally drying out and natural bees wax protect. After it dries, not shiny and preserves natural beauty of wood. Applied with small portion of microfiber cloth and opened windows to air out scent, which dissipates reasonably fast. This was my 3rd purchase of product to use various cabinets. Highly Recommended. - Amazon User Review, March 23, 2024

After that, a quick coat of amber shellac sealed the handle and enriched the color.  I absolutely love the way this little trowel cleaned up.

I think I had a total of 20 to 30 minutes into this trowel, but it was fun!  Now - it's almost time to get to work on some outside projects and I can't wait!  Oh, and tomorrow (4/8/2024) is the great Total Eclipse of 2024, and 173 is very close to being in the path of totality!  The whole state is going nuts over it, and we even picked up some eclipse glasses - fun!

Anyway - thanks for stopping by and - see ya' next time!
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